Friday, February 26, 2010

Scenes from the Sewing Room

Lovely sewing and reading gifts in the mail. (Thanks E!)

On my sewing table this morning are three grocery bags in progress:

My neatly stacked NO LONGER NEAT! This is what happens when I am doing a lot of sewing. One of my projects for the weekend is to organize my fabric into plastic totes by color and size.

Finished bags hanging on the wall:

The sun was shining in the window in this one:

Have a great weekend and if you are so inclined..... HAPPY SEWING, COOKING AND CLEANING!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Little French Country Touch

We have two of these vintage chairs. One came from a church yard sale and I use it for my sewing chair. The other one was handed down through the family.

Yesterday I found these Red Gingham Chair Pads on clearance at Walmart and bought the only two they had.

I will either use these two on the two vintage chairs, or if I can find some more of these at other Walmarts, I may purchase more to use on the chairs that go to my kitchen table. I think this chair with the pad would work well near the front entry.

Here is a picture of an entry using a chair with a red checked cushion. My entry would not be anything like this, but this does give me some ideas of how to arrange it. These same chairs and ideas could really dress up a hallway too.

I am going to slowly collect items that fit a French Country decorating theme. My main colors will be red, yellow, black and green. The country bench I posted about yesterday is the right color of brick red and has that aged look that is so pretty.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Country Bench

This post is part of TABLE TOP TUESDAY on the Stroll Thru Life Blog HERE.

My recent birthday gift from my hubby was a country bench, just like I had been wanting for a long time. He ran across it at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago and had the seller hold it for him.

This is the bench with random items on it, just so you could get an idea of how I plan to use it.

These are pictures from decorating books of ideas for using the bench:

As I hinted in an earlier post.... wouldn't this look good in a room like this?

In French Country colors of red, yellow black and green?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Sewing

I did most of my housework earlier in the week, so today was spent sewing and decluttering a closet. The weather is grand!!! A little nippy, but right now its 57degrees and no snow in sight!

I designed a new larger size clothespin bag using a bamboo wood hanger with a swivel hook. Its very convenient to use because the bag turns as you need it. Its large enough to hold lots of pins, but not too deep, so you can easily reach in and get them. I plan to stock my Etsy Shop with this size bag, as well as keep it stocked with my smaller bags. I think both size bags are very useful.

I finished the "Botanical Bugs" Apron that I posted plans for earlier in the week:

Another very pretty grocery bag with roses on a trellis background:

I have one more grocery bag cut out and ready to sew. Hope to get that one done before I call it a "sewing day".

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Beginnings

My newest chicken accessory, from my hubby for Valentine's Day:

The year 2010 is proving to be a year of new beginnings for me. Here's a little sneak peek:

A new house key? This is really what the key chain says! I am not making this up and I did not make this key chain! My dream home would be a farm house in the country and it would have to be in North Carolina, of course. Just like Little House on the Prairie. Could a Little House on the Coastal Plain of North Carolina be in my future?

A new sewing room? A room JUST for sewing? It can't be! With two windows for lots of light to come through, room for a cutting table and close to the living room and my hubby?

More details to come in the coming weeks from this country girl blogger!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Few More Bags and an Apron in Progress

This post is a part of WHATCHA WORKING ON WEDNESDAY at Leslie's Blog. Check it out.

I've made a few more bags this week:

BOTANICAL BUGS - A gardening theme with bugs, tools and veggies. .

I have also cut out a cobbler's apron made from this fabric that I am working on this week. It will be reversible with a small red checked fabric for the lining and pockets

The Apron in progress!

POODLES IN PARIS - I had a small scrap of this left over from prior projects and some brown and white dotted fabric that was left over from my EARLY AUTUMN QUILT. It was a perfect combination.

AN ASIAN TOUCH - I have made four bags like this one in the last two weeks and still have enough for one more.

Its been a busy week so far!

(To purchase handmade items in my Etsy Shop, click HERE.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Second Chance NC State Quilt

My handmade Valentine's gift for my hubby, including his favorite candy: Caramel Cremes.

This quilt has been hanging around in my sewing room for 2 or 3 years and I have finally finished it! It originally was planned to be a queen size quilt for my stepson. The quilt never quite looked like I wanted it to and then my stepson ended up going to a different college. So about a month ago I decided to finish it as a "throw size" quilt for my hubby for Valentine's Day.

I wanted it to be a surprise. Do you know how hard it is to make a quilt in the same house with someone without them knowing it? Also, I have a very good husband who is almost always home. I worked on this quilt only when he was out of the house and I was home alone. I didn't quite finish the handwork on the binding on the back of the quilt in time, but finished that last night. I think it turned out well and the free motion machine quilting looks nice.

This quilt will be around a lot longer than any store bought Valentine goody I could have purchased. Don't you just love handmade gifts? I do. One of my most treasured possessions is the purple scarf my daughter crocheted for me last year for my birthday. It was the first thing she made and it was for me. That is priceless!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Barn in Winter

I wrote a post on this blog in September of 2009 about the old tobacco barn located in my backyard HERE.

I took this beautiful picture of "The Barn" early this morning after a rare eastern North Carolina snowfall. What a difference a few months make!

The barn in Winter:

The barn in early Autumn:

My friend tried the Persimmon Seed weather forecast you can read about here:
Persimmon Seed Weather Forecast and this FARMERS ALMANAC ARTICLE If you read the articles, you will see that a spoon shaped seed means lots of snow and that's exactly what the experiment my friend did showed. The spoon represents a snow shovel, I guess.

Out our front door:

I hope to do some more snow day sewing today. Maybe I'll post some pictures of some finished projects later today.

Have a great day, whether you have snow or not!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yum! Coffee Sure is Good!

Its that time of year again for me to be running to this doctor and that doctor doing my annual check ups. You know... doctor's visit, lab work, Mammogram, and once you pass 50, there's more that we won't discuss here... :o)

Anyway, yesterday morning the labwork prevented me from having my coffee with hazelnut creamer. Boy, it sure is good this morning! Absence sure does make the heart grow fonder! I'm also happy to report that all the lab tests came back normal.

This coffee mug came from The Mast General Store in the mountain town of Valle Crucis, North Carolina. This is a very interesting place to visit. HERE is a link that tells the history. The one in Valle Crucis is the original store, but there are now several others scattered about the western part of the state.

Hope you are enjoying your coffee, or what ever your morning beverage of choice is, this morning.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Is it possible that its only been a week since I was posting all my "Snow Day Sewing" pictures? I glimpsed this little daffodil over the weekend during our local travels.

Plants are like people. Sometimes they grow and thrive even though they are planted in unlikely places. I know, like me, you've seen beautiful flowers growing in the summer time in the tiny amount of soil in the crack of a sidewalk. This is really one of God's little surprises for us which we can often find if we'll just keep our eyes and hearts open.

So what are some ways to bloom where you are planted? Here are a few I can recall just from yesterday:

1. Dealing with grouchy people on the telephone? Be sweet. You might be the only person they have talked to lately who isn't a grouch back! Honestly, at my office people will call us to ask for the phone number of our competitors! I will usually look the number up for them and give it to them. You never know what's behind this. Maybe they can't read well enough to find the number or don't have a phonebook. I want everyone to be kind to my family members in situations like that, so I try to be nice to people, who don't always deserve it.

Remember this scripture: Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

2. Exasperated by the long line at the grocery store or post office? It will NOT do you one bit of good to let it make you mad! Life will go on.... even if it is delayed a few minutes while waiting in a line! And that little old lady clerk at the counter... could use a few kind words.

And who knows what disaster you may have missed by being delayed a few minutes. Many people were saved from the 911 disaster because they missed the train, stopped to buy something at the drugstore or were sick. We will NEVER know, in this life, the ways God has protected us. I'd rather be waiting in line at the Post Office that involved in a car wreck!

3. Family members didn't wipe their feet and there is a lot of dirt on your floors? :o) Might as well sweep it up and get over it! The day may come when you would love to have that dirt as a reminder of their presence, but they won't be there because of what ever life sends your way.

I realize that these are just day to day inconveniences. I am blessed that I live in America, have a good job, a comfortable home, plenty of food, and loved ones who love me. So many people in the world are REALLY planted in places and circumstances that are very hard for blooming!

So did God plant you in your current situation, like he does the beautiful wildflowers growing under adverse conditions? Its something to think about. If He planted you there, he can also move you to a better situation just as easily.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Little More Sewing...

Just a couple more completed projects over the weekend:

I also worked on some other sewing projects, did some basic housework, attended church and was just plain old "busy" all weekend.

I hope you enjoy your week!

Friday, February 5, 2010

On The Wild Side...

Another day, another bag. I have been trying to make, or at least work on, one bag a day. My spirit is willing to sew at night after work, but my body is weak! Anyway, last night I made this zebra print bag and worked on the denim/blue/yellow bag that I posted the plans for Wednesday.

I may change the ribbon color on this bag from white to black. I didn't have a hot pink ribbon in my ribbon stash, so if I can get to Walmart through the buckets of rain we are getting today, I may pick up a roll and change it to hot pink. What do you think? White, Black or Hot Pink? The person who gets this bag might like all three so she can change the color to match her outfits! :o)

Weekend Plans:

I plan to work on some more bags, but also want to do some quilting. I have quilts in all stages of progress. There is one small quilt that is almost finished. One quilt is in in the beginning stages and I'm ready to start sewing the quilt top.

Also, I'd like to make another Jungle Babies quilt to list in my Etsy Shop. I have some of the Jungle Babies fabric in my stash. I'm not sure what pattern I will use for the new one, but I know it will be machine quilted. Here's the one I made for my grandson, which I hand quilted.

Oh yeah.... I really need to do some housework, especially since last weekend I declared the entire weekend to be for "Snow Day Sewing" and did very little housework.

To view handmade items I have for sale, please visit my HOMEMAKING DREAMS ETSY SHOP. Thanks!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sewing Machine Maintenance

I took this picture of my sewing machine corner this morning. Yes, according to the clock in the picture it was a little after 6:00 A.M.

I'm not very diligent at maintaining my machine. There a few reasons for this. The main reason is that I don't like to stop my sewing long enough to do it. Secondly, I'm always afraid I'll oil the machine and then the next project I sew may get oil on it. Finally, I'm never really sure where I'm supposed to put the drops of sewing machine oil because my machine is old and I don't have the instruction book that came with it. Its a Singer and I'm pretty sure I could order the instruction book from the Singer Company on line. I really need to do that.

But, since I couldn't even remember when my machine was serviced last, and it was beginning to run really rough, I decided I better take care of this chore.

While being snowbound on Monday, I opened up the machine by taking the top off and by lifting it up and looking underneath. I put drops of oil everywhere there were moving parts. When I turned the wheel I would look to see what was moving and I oiled the joints.

I also cleaned all of the lint that had accumulated underneath the machine and around the bobbin and needle area. I got out the vacuum hose and vacuumed out all the lint I could and used a long quilting pin to pick out any small pieces of lint that would not come out any other way.

Finally, I replaced the needle, which I don't do nearly often enough either.

I'm sure the machine could benefit from a "real servicing" from my local sewing machine dealer. But, my machine is built into a cabinet and its no easy task to get this whole thing to the store for servicing. I'm also sure its only a matter of time before the belts will need replacing because one of them felt "thin". I sure would be upset if one weekend when I was happily sewing, perhaps even snowed in, and the belt broke! I would be one mad lady. So, I really should take it on in and get it over with!

After I did my own "servicing" of the machine, you would not believe how much better the machine runs! It now sews so smoothly and sounds so much better, especially when free motion quilting, which I think puts a strain on the machine.

Does anyone have any hints for sewing machine maintenance?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Whatcha Working on Wednesday

I can't believe its Wednesday already! Having a three day snow weekend, followed by a frantic Tuesday trying to get caught up at work has made time fly!

So, what have I been working on? If you have read my previous several posts you will see that I have been making lots of purses. Yesterday I made another clothespin bag. Before work I chose the fabric and cut out the pieces. Then after work and supper last night, I sewed it together:

I am also working on a bag made from yellow and blue charm squares and denim. Each 5inch charm square is cut into three 1 1/2 inch wide strips. I use 12 strips for each side of the bag.

Once these are sewn together I will have two 12 1/2 inch by 4 3/4 inch rectangles. From the denim I will cut a 9 1/2 inch by 12 1/2 inch rectangle. When all three of these rectangles are sewn together I'll have one large rectangle for the outside of the bag which will be made into a quilt sandwich and machine quilted.

This blue, yellow and denim bag will be made like these two I made last week:

I also have 3 special orders to work on, as well as the many other ideas I've got in my head.

So Whatcha working on? Check out Leslie's Blog for more Whatcha Working On Wednesday Posts.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Laundry Basket Ice Capades

The ice is just a memory now.

My daughter and grandson having fun!

Weeding Out the Unnecessary

One of my pet peeves is doing unnecessary work. I constantly try to weed out the unnecessary steps in a task, as long as the end result is good.

While being snowed in this past weekend and being on a sewing frenzy, I discovered two steps in sewing quilted bags that I could skip, that not only gave just as good a finished product, but actually was even better.

When doing free motion quilting on a quilt, you need to switch your sewing machine foot over to a darning foot and pin baste the quilt sandwich together. So, naturally when quilting the much smaller rectangle used when making a purse/bag/tote, I assumed I would need to use the same process.

Here's what my early attempts at this looked like, pins, darning foot and all:

Later on, I accidentally quilted an entire rectangle with my regular sewing foot and afterwards realized, it really made no difference. I also decided to try quilting the rectangle without pinning it.... at all..... It worked even better! There were NO pleats or uneven areas at all. The finished quilted rectangle was flat and pretty!

Here's a rectangle being quilted without changing the sewing machine foot or pin basting it:

The bag turned out cute!

So I guess the moral of this post is: Don't do extra work just because that's the way its always been done. Experiment with your daily chores and jobs to see if there are unnecessary steps, that if left out, won't affect the finished product or job.

Glimpses of Home - HOOKS!

Now that's an exciting title, isn't it?  HaHa  While working around the house the other day I realized that I have a lot of over t...